Top 50 Records of 2020, So Far (Spectrum Culture)

David Grubbs & Taku Unami – Comet Meta [Blue Chopsticks]

The record begins in unassuming territory, two undistorted electric guitars unfurling jumbled yet glassy, complementary yet dissonant post-rock measures that resemble rivers floating suspended in the air, sentiments that are both fully formed and feathery-light. Two minutes into the title track of Comet Meta, though, you get the sense you’re listening to something not just sonically pleasant but important. There, David Grubbs and Taku Unami – appearing on the duo’s debut for Grubbs’ Blue Chopsticks Records – break down the measures in hyper-pressurized space, with one guitar providing rapidly fingered scales and arpeggios as another repeats the title’s main theme, if only with a bit more urgency. It’s nothing short of masterful – and a trope the musicians reprise throughout the recording.

Grubbs and Unami are never at a shortage for ideas but what makes Comet Meta such a delectable meal for longtime fans is how it seems to take stock of both musicians’ catalogs while plunging ever forward. Unami’s electro-acoustic sound work, the undulating waves of it all, hints at the finest “isms” of Grubbs’ Gastr del Sol days and Grubbs is a savant here on both guitar and piano. In short, the new record, just six pristine songs long, is not only by Grubbs but of him. Comet Meta, in fact, might not just be a brilliant successor to Grubb’s 2017 solo LP Creep Mission but also one of the more defining works of Grubbsian experimental post-rock. If that doesn’t get you drooling in anticipation, nothing will. Here’s a bold statement: in 10 years, we’ll still be comparing Comet Meta to the brightest work phantom-blues guitarist Loren Connors ever has recorded.  Justin Vellucci, Spectrum Culture, July 3, 2020

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